Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sunday Scribbles LII

Yesterday was almost perfect. I say "almost", because the one person who would have brought it to a nadir of excellence was at work. I really missed Jenny's presence.
My niece (the self-same one who had been tossed around so much in the Christchurch 'quake) came and visited me. She arrived with her extraordinary daughter, and new "friend". Interesting euphemism.
It's always a fine thing to be in the same room as Meagan: she has a way of sharing her smile that is truly enriching. And her daughter has the same gift: they're both people who genuinely fill a room with light.
I made scones for the visitation. Yum. I wonder why the Americans call them "biscuits" - it seems odd. Not all Americans, of course: many know the scone by that name, but they pronounce it with a long O. Of course, when you look at the word, that's the way it should be pronounced: single vowel, consonant, end letter E. Plane, bone, meme: the vowel preceding the consonant is lengthened by the E at the end. So, yes, SCONE should rhyme with BONE. Bit it just doesn't.
This is how prejudice works. SCONE has always been pronounced SKONN, so that's the way it should always be. People with a different skin colour aren't as (insert adjective here) as me, and that's the way it will always be. Trivial, pre-known "facts" are always correct, because we've never really thought about them. Where is Socrates when you need him?!
So, next time I hear someone blither on with an unthinking pre-judged theme, I'll kick myself with a SCONE, and not a SKONN. Anything that helps me think twice about what I'm saying.
A beautiful Sunday, today. We're going visiting Jenny's sons for lunch. Maybe I'll whip up another batch of scones.
Actually, thinking of this reminds me that I once made some pikelets for the guys at the office. A young South African called them pancakes. I mean - really.
Meagan's visit, and a chance observation at the supermarket, have got me thining about the nature of love. I have some more cogitating to do - watch this space. I have an awful feeling I may be finally growing up.
Listening to: Sinead O'Connor, "The Lion and the Cobra".
Reading: "North Korea", by photographer "Philippe Chancel. Stunning. Horrifying. I've finally got to the end of "A Madness of Angels". A little suspension of disbelief is required (something all fiction readers should find easily) - and, voila, we have the foundations of an entirely new urban mythology. Excellent. Really, really excellent.
More "Paper Heroes":
“In bringing us back to life with this handicap,” said Crayne, “you’ve effectively crippled us. You might just as well have held a gun to our heads and blown our brains out.”

Charles was rocked back on his heels by the argument. The horror that these man wanted: the freedom to rage, the liberty to allow hot anger to course in their veins. Add to that the accusation that he, Charles Windsor, had visited violence upon them! Despite his own truncated embot programming, the horror engulfed him. Charles, turned, walked away, close to vomiting. That someone should accuse him of bringing harm to another human by omission or commission was unthinkable. He leaned against the wall, weakly, and waited for his own embots to bring order to his thoughts, for them to bring his body chemistry back to normal levels. Within a minute, the adrenalin had been neutralised, and in that minute he had made his decision. He sub-vocalised to his I-See, which responded that to have their systems stripped of embots would require a two hour visit to The White Room. His I-See also suggested that Sleepers’ cats should also be made embot-free, as Prester had demanded.

Then, because he had never been either a stupid or unfair man, he had his own embots fully de-commissioned. If he was to fully understand his charges, he must be as like them as possible.

Two hours in the White Room. A lifetime. Everything changed. They had all moved into the room with some trepidation, but the embots had soothed them. As one, they lay on the floor, and were raised on the force-field. A musical tone sounded, and they all instantly fell asleep.

Grey, the cowboy, was the first to stir. He was the smallest of the six Sleepers, and he hopped down from the invisible bed.

Memories flooded back to him: gunfights in Laredo and Tombstone, killings on the range, fighting with the Confederate cavalry in the War Between the States . His mind was filled with images of the hard labour of the cow-trail, riding herd on thousands of longhorn cattle trampling through the dust, the constant dust, to the beef-hungry greenhorns in the East. He recalled the code he lived by: rigid, unquestioning, black and white, with no room for doubt.

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